A few years ago I walked into a fundraiser armed with a mission: I was going to buy a puppy. And, much to my husband’s chagrin, the one thing in this world that I never lose is a live auction. So several glasses of wine and many thousand dollars later, I walked out of the event the proud owner of a golden retriever named Hunter.
Hunter was the byproduct of a strong belief of mine that a boy has to have a dog. And therefore, the three boys in our household became the benefactors to a not-so-bright but full-of-love puppy that they adore and that adores them. I woke up the morning after that event with a husband, mother and nanny that all fully and quite vocally questioned my decision to bid on and ultimately take home that pup. But never did I question my belief that “a boy must have a dog.”
As a business owner, you have these moments of decisiveness; you have to. While they may not feel so resolute at the time, I call them moments of brilliance. No one will talk you out of what you know is right. You may have a day now and then that makes you question your ability as an entrepreneur–maybe an employee quit, maybe a bill collector called again, maybe a large client complained, maybe tax season snuck up and slapped you with an unplanned tax bill. Maybe all of the above.
Guess what? You’re not the only one that has days like this. These are the days that separate the mice from the men–the companies that thrive from the companies you once heard about.
Pull yourself together, focus on your company’s vision and stay the course. You know where your company will be. You can see what the company of your future looks like. Peer over the current day and look to the day ahead.
As with many future dreams of my company, I envisioned a day in the future with that scruffy puppy and the boys. And now years later, watching my five year old sleeping with his arm around that dog’s neck, I swear I can see a smile on both of their faces. Now it’s one thing to be determined to buy a puppy and benefit a good cause. It is completely another to stay focused and determined so that you can enjoy those moments of brilliance in your company.
Here are three tips for staying in focus and in charge so you can enjoy those Moments of Brilliance more often.
1. Focus on your sureties. These are the things in your company and your life that only you can do. There are a million aspects to your company that you undoubtedly are capable of handling and it is easy to step in and take over if you see a train sliding off the tracks. But if you handle everything that comes through your door, you will not have time left in the day to focus on the areas that only you can handle. The same is true in your personal life. If you can pay someone fifty dollars to do your laundry and in the same time frame earn $200 in your business, then don’t do you own laundry! Stay focused on the areas of your life that absolutely require you and only you.
2. Take the time to think. With the crescendo of communication, questions, demands, and responsibilities in your life, you can sometimes feel like you just jump from crisis to crisis all day every day. You need to make time to think, plan and strategize. If you can’t step back once in a while to really focus on forward thinking strategy, the results you obtain will be through default rather than choice.
3. Fiercely manage and protect your time. Even by following the two tips above, there will be that time creep that happens. For example, when someone walks into your office and says “Do you have a minute?”, how often are they actually out of your office less than sixty seconds later? They aren’t. Unexpected calls, the onslaught of emails and unplanned meetings will use up your day and prevent you from getting to your priorities. Schedule the critical things you need to get done as actual appointments with yourself. This is not just for projects at work, but also working out, spending time with your kids and making sure you make doctor’s appointments to take care of yourself while you take care of everyone/thing else that needs you.